Facing No. 8-ranked Cal today in a nationally televised game at TCF Bank Stadium fits right into Tim Brewster's plan. The University of Minnesota football coach wants his program to play more marquee nonconference opponents to brighten exposure on the Gophers, and in theory boost recruiting. That's why Southern California is on Minnesota's schedule in 2010 and 2011. And that's why an announcement came Friday that Texas is on the schedule in 2015 and 2016. Losing badly today to the Pac-10 title contenders and becoming the backdrop in a highlight reel for Heisman Trophy candidate Jahvid Best certainly wouldn't help Minnesota sell itself. But pulling off one of the biggest upsets in college football this season could go a long way toward establishing the Gophers.
"We're going to relish the opportunity to be on the national stage this weekend, and for (Minnesota) to be on the national stage on national TV against a tremendous opponent," Brewster said. "We understand it is an enormous challenge for our football team, but again, that's what football needs to be about for us as far as I'm concerned in elevating the status of our program." Brewster's 2-0 team might be on display for hundreds of potential recruits across the country today. The nation's No. 1 senior, Seantrel Henderson of Cretin-Derham Hall, is expected to be in attendance — not on an official visit but, he said, as a fan.